Partying with Sir Elton John at the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Show

I was already convinced that fireworks follow wherever Sir Elton John steps when he arrived at Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday night, ready to ignite the department store’s famous annual holiday lights and window display. He wore, as he had promised me in an email interview that morning, “head-to-toe Gucci”: a red-and-blue tracksuit, Gucci x Adidas sneakers, and a tailored matcha-green blazer with his name emblazoned on the breast pocket . When a golf cart steered him into a blocked section of the formerly busy street, a grand piano was rolled onto Fifth Avenue in his honor. He tickled the first notes of “Your Song” and the windows of the department store behind him suddenly lit up with the merchandise he had helped select. All of which is to say, after 52 years on the road, John still knows how to curate a good show.

The 75-year-old singer – or Rocket Man, as he’s popularly known thanks to one of his biggest hits – was just coming off his final US stop on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The night, says John, was an incredible one, even after the well over 3,500 shows he has played during his career. He wrote via email: “I kept thinking of myself on stage, Here I am 52 years later after my first Dodgers show, and I can think of no better way to end my time in America than at the iconic Dodgers Stadium that has meant so much to me in my career.”

After leaving Los Angeles with her husband, David Furnish, and sons, Zachary and Elijah, she arrived hours later in New York, where she was set to launch not only the light show, but also a holiday collection at Saks itself. the gift capsule, Live from Nov. 23, features pieces from over 60 brands including (but not limited to) Givenchy, Versace, Balmain, Burberry, Jo Malone, Wales Bonner, Christopher John Rogers, Staud and Gucci – all curated in collaboration with John. As part of a $1 million commitment from Saks, $500,000 of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s The Rocket Foundationwhich John started back in 1992. The organization’s goal is to end AIDS worldwide by 2030, and the Rocket Fund in particular is a multi-year campaign dedicated to ending stigma and sending resources to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Over the past 30 years, we have grown so much and gathered support to grow our income from less than $1 million a year in the beginning to over $25 million annually today,” John wrote. “We have developed coalitions with community organizations, national health systems, research institutions, activists and the growing movement of people living with HIV/AIDS to make an impact through programs in dozens of countries around the world. To witness and be a part of this growth has been one of the greatest joys of my life.”

elton john performs at 2022 saks fifth avenue holiday windows

Alexi Rosenfeld//Getty Images

    These days, the iconic artist hopes to spend more time at home with her husband and young sons, but don’t expect her fingerprint on the music industry to change anytime soon. A lover of multiple genres of music, he hates to play favorites with his collaborators and mentees, but names Sam Fender and Billie Eilish as two artists he’s excited to see hit the charts. “I was blown away when I first heard their music and watching them now,” John wrote. “They were making music at such a young age that I couldn’t even understand how to make when I was that young.” As for his sons, they would probably bring up Dua Lipa’s name. “My cool quotient went way up when we collaborated on ‘Cold Heart,'” jokes John.

    After finishing “Your Song,” John took a seat next to his family in the front row of the bleachers lined up across Fifth Avenue, from where he could see the Saks holiday lights. He rocked back and forth as his own music poured out of huge speakers, synchronized with blinding flashes of light and fireworks erupting from the Saks roof. Even amidst all the noise and color, his beloved red sunglasses caught the light. It was easy to pick him out of the crowd.

    “When I go out and when I’m on stage, I want to feel special,” he wrote to me. “I still want to be brave and surprise people with my appearance.” After more than five decades on stage, he’s still doing it.

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